Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival

 I hope Mr Linky is still open and I can get this quilt entered in Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival.  I just got my internet back after Hurricane Sandy.
  I made this quilt a few years ago for my younger brother and his new wife.  They live in Nashville and I live near Baltimore so I hadn't seen their home since their wedding and I knew they had decorated a lot.  No idea what color scheme so I went Multi!  I pulled out some black and white prints and my precious Cherrywood fabrics.  I didn't have a pattern, I just started with a big ol' star.  After I got the center star done, the middle looked 'boorrrrrrrring' and I knew it needed something.
I used some designs from Kim Schaefer's book Flower Festival and jazzed it up a little.  Aren't those Cherrywood colors just yummy?  I also decided to frame up those applique blocks (yeah, cuz I accidentally cut the blocks too small, lol.  Happy accident.)
I had so much fun with this quilt.  I tried things for the first time.  Like, quilting feathers!  This is one of the four large corner blocks.  This first picture is before I washed it and you can see the marks I used.  I just used 3 circles to give myself some boundaries.  Look at those plump and happy feathers!

And.............after a ride through the washing machine!  All nice and rumply.

For the triangles, I just stitched a freeform center line of stitching and then fit some feathers on each side.  I don't know why I haven't done this again.  I really need to.

For this quilt I even got out my calculator and did some arithmatic.  Oooooo!   I pieced a border!  Dang Lisa, you musta really been showing off that day, ha ha.
In each of the solid blocks around the border, I tried something else for the first time.  I decided to use some 'filler' patterns with my quilting.  I poked around Leah Day's website and got lots and lots of ideas.
Here's one, some simple wavy lines.
And some sassy zig zaggy lines.

Who likes curls?

I believe this was supposed to look a bit like flames.
Hmmm, really?

Circles!  Gosh I always love the look of this but I haven't ever gotten the nerve to try it in a large space.  Lots of thread used if you do that.

Itty bitty feathers.  Cute!
And I think I was either really tired or just plain running out of ideas or mojo.  Just some sorta outline stitching. 

I haven't seen this quilt since I gave it to George and Lara.  Looking at these pictures makes me realize that I need to stop and smell the roses more often when I'm making a quilt.  By that, I mean slow down and give each quilt a proper finish, try new stuff, and take a chance.   It's way too easy to get impatient after piecing a top when you can almost smell the finish line.  I'm so guilty of that, anybody else wanna raise their hands.  Nice solid border and a quick all-over meander and we can get going on the next quilt we've been itching to make.  I think I feel a resolution coming in my near future.
Anyway, here are the stats for this quilt.
Measures 64 inches square.
Special techniques: machine applique.
Machine quilted by Lisa Mathis on a home machine.
Best category:  applique quilt, throw, home machine quilted.

I hope you enjoyed this quilt!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Storm update.

We still have power!!  But not for long I don't think. 
Look what just happened a half hour ago.  I was in the kitchen cleaning up after the naughty cat's muddy feet and I commented to my husband that I thought we could just pull up a chair and watch this tree until it fell.  I said I thought it was just gonna uproot.
Am I smart or what?!  I heard a gust of wind and saw that baby just start to go.
 I was shouting, "IT'S GOING DOWN!!!"
And it did.  I can't believe it missed everything important.  The propane tank, the house, the deck, the generator on the deck, our power lines.
So lucky. 
Stay safe everybody.  I have to get back to sewing.  I put the borders on my scrappy quilt and now have to decide on the backing.

Storm Prep, 9patch style.

If you haven't heard, there's a hurricane called Sandy headed my way.  Actually she's kinda here already.  We know for a certainty that we will lose our power and it will likely be out for at least a week.  Since moving back to the family farm about 10 or 12 years ago, we have had experiences with no power several times.  Never with such dire warnings though.  I really love the advance warning.  I don't know how the meteorologists do it but,  THANK YOU!!
We have well water and that's the rub.  No power means no water.  Unacceptable!  Shortly after we moved here, we went 6 days without power and I think I suffered with PTSD for a couple years after that.  All I ask for is a cup or two of coffee in the morning and a shower.  After a couple of days, our county opened one of the high schools on the weekend for sad folks like us to go take a shower in the locker rooms.  Whoopee!
Since that storm and a couple others (and thanks to a little tornado that pulled the power lines right off our house) we now have a generator AND a fancy cord and plug with a gigando outlet on the outside of our house.  We can now have power for our water pump, the refrigerator, and our bathrooms.  Using the outlets in the bathrooms, we can plug in a few lights.  Maybe even a little gadget called a sewing machine.
So, what have I done to prepare?  My laundry is done, all dishes are clean, everything outside that can blow around has been put away, the generator is out and primed, and the gas cans are full.  But, most importantly, I have done some sewing every chance I got. 
I now have 43 blocks done for the Scrappy Stash Quilt Along.  I decided I had to make one more in each color because I really want to set the blocks in color rows.  
 The above picture is how I ended up putting them.  I had to ponder the pink row for a while.  It really doesn't have a place in the ROYGBIV color wheel.  I tried it up with the red and orange but............ bleh.
 I tried to fit in the grays and blacks that I made but no go.
 Even alternated the black and gray blocks but...............nah.
The wind is really gusting now and it's making me type faster and faster to get this posted before I am stuck without internet service.  By the way, there is an old oak tree out back that has a 20 degree lean now towards the house.  Dang it!  IF it falls, it will probably land on my old sewing room.  I just moved everything in there away from the outside wall.  My pretty red washer and dryer are in there.  I hope they make it. 
I'll check in when I can.  Stay safe everyone, I think I'll spend my time this week cutting fabric for some quilts.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I have things to do today.  I thought I had two days off in a row but a friend at work has a sick baby so I volunteered to work a 12 hour shift for her tomorrow.  And I slept late today and have a dental checkup.  So I really need to tackle some chores.  But first..................I thought I'd share with you a peak at some pictures from my front yard, and I'll throw in some of the nonsense that putters through my brain as well. 
Every fall, this little family of toadstools pop up under our pine tree.  I love when they come and I finally got some pictures.
I discovered something today that apparently I never knew before.  I cannot gracefully put my pants on if I put the left leg in first.  I know people are left-handed or right-handed but I didn't know I was right-legged. 
 Look at this little family.
   I am a little bit ambidextrous. I am a leftie when it comes to writing and eating. I use scissors with my right hand but most of us probably do because that's how the scissors are made. I rotary cut with both hands and I love to make one cut with one hand and then switch to the other so I don't have to move my ruler.
These toadstools get more facinating the closer I get.
  When I learned new nursing skills like inserting IV's or giving shots, or placing catheters, I had to think hard which way to do it and I ultimately use whichever hand suits the side of the bed I am on.
I may have to use my friend Google to find out what the underside of these are called.  They are so delicate.
   This morning I was trying to rush when I got dressed (remember all the chores I'm supposed to be doing?)  When I rush, I really just act all goofy.  I start brushing my teeth and walk all around trying to get dressed at the same time.  Which means I constantly start and stop brushing.  Brush a little, put on underpants, brush a little, put on bra, brush a little, attempt to put on shirt without getting toothpaste all over.......get the picture?
Look at these guys.  Are they the wacky neighbors or just young toadstools that haven't popped open yet?
So this morning, I was brushing and dressing at the same time.  I brushed, put on a sock, brushed, THEN picked up my jeans.  Here is where I made my discovery.  (I really do wonder how many people are still reading this)  I felt a pause, an awkward moment of indecision. I WANTED to put my right foot in first but I guess since I had just put a sock on it, it was the left foot's turn.  So I put my left leg into my pants first.   Revelation time!  I felt totally awkward and unbalanced and had to fumble all around to finally end up dressed.  I felt like you do when you try to eat soup with the wrong hand.  The spoon turns a little, soup spills out, and you end up standing on your pant leg and can't pull them up.  And you still have a toothbrush hanging out of your mouth of course!
Look at me!  I'm king of the Toadstool Patch!
Oops.  I think he smiled too hard.
So that's what went through my head this morning.  Most surprising (or ridiculous) is that I decided to sit down and write about it.  Especially since I really have to get going around here.   I mostly just wanted to share these pictures.
And this little fella, he showed up on the other side of the yard all by himself.
So what did I really learn this morning?  No time is saved by trying to do everything at once.  (and I'll do anything to put off cleaning the litter box)
The End

Monday, October 22, 2012

Addictive behavior.

Why do you think it's so much fun to play with scraps?
  I have a theory.  At least in my case, I think it's  a) fun to revisit all of my fabric.  Like getting together with dozens of your good friends, and   b)  wowzer, I could make quite a few quilts without even cutting into my 'good' yardage. 
So,  I have been making lots of improv log cabin blocks for the quiltalong.  I have other ideas about scraps  (no groundbreaking discoveries, you all probably know this too), up close they may look dated or plain, but together they are awesome.  Here are a couple of blocks up close.
I like the orange one above.  I got the fun buggy print from a friend who was downsizing.  Not until I made these blocks did I realize that I have the same print in blue (below).  I am pretty sure I got both of them from my friend Kim but I never noticed before that I had that print in two colorways.  So these two blocks are okay alone and up close.  However,  I look at them and think 'meh'. 

Then I put a cluster of these blocks together and..................SHAZAM!!!! 
Now we're talking. 
Every couple of days I pulled down a couple mason jars of scraps and put together 4 blocks in each color. 

Now, I don't like my green blocks, and I do regret the green choices that have a lot of light background.  But, when I put them into a mix with other blocks, they do okay.
Below you can see I was up to 32 blocks in 8 colors.  Isn't gray a soothing color?  I'm so glad I have been snagging gray fabrics for the last year or two.  And, boy oh boy, did I have to work hard to find purple scraps.  It's possible that I have NEVER bought a purple fabric (except one Kaffe Fassett.).  I think purple is a nice color but it really rarely catches my eye.  I managed to get the four purple blocks together by rooting through a bin of 2 and a half inch strips from a swap, and digging out some repro prints.
And I threw together some black and white blocks too.  Nice contrast.
 I love the red, blue, and gray together.  A lot!  It is so darn tempting to just make a whole quilt in these colors.

I have 36 blocks done at this point and I decided that was enough.  I have four each of 9 different colors.  I can put them in seven rows of five and plop the last one on the back.  So I have been wondering,  how should I set them?  Diagonal stripes of each color is purty, but doesn't work with only 4 blocks in each color.  Rats. 
Here they are all mixed up.  Isn't it amazing how much we can obsess about the placement of each block?  And, egads, that orange near the middle really bugs me with that one super wide strip at the bottom.  I MUST fix it.  It could be it is time to let these dudes marinate a bit.  I find myself looking at my row of mason jars full of colorful scraps and wanting to play.  I think I have a scrap addiction.   I will contemplate whether or not I want to make more blocks  or call it a day.   
I took a few minutes (or more) yesterday to do a little applique on some baby onesies.  One of the surgeons I work with is having a baby next month.  She is such a sweetheart and it's her fourth child, a little surprise.  She had given all of her baby things away a couple years ago.  At work, we have started giving 'Sprinkles' instead of showers for co-workers who already have children.  A Sprinkle is a scaled down Shower, hee hee.  We are putting together a big basket of baby gifts for our friend. 
I made four of these onesies with one of my Accuquilt Go dies.  One of them was a little lion and I'm sorry I didn't get a picture because it was very cute.  I rolled a couple of these up and popped them into a jar and put a ribbon around it.  Looks great in the basket!   
I didn't use fusible on these because I didn't want the applique shapes to be stiff.  Of course when I washed them (I wanted to make sure these looked okay and not distorted), they got a little fuzzy around the edges.  Next time I may go ahead and use a light fusible.  Feel free to share if you have any input on this.
I have been having fun in the sewing room lately.  How about you?  Having any fun?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Another Quilt along!

Listen up now,  this one is a no-brainer.  Jennifer at Ellison Lane Quilts is hosting a quilt along using
your SCRAPS!  That's right, you can just sort out your scraps by color and get started.  Her blog had links to lots of other blogs with quilters showing how they sort their scraps.  Oy!  Oy!!  I have sorted my scraps a couple or ten times and it's a chore.  Therefore, anything that promises to use some up is heaven to my ears, or eyes,.......whatever.  
So what constitutes a scrap?  See this bag?  It was full before I sorted my scraps.   Now it's only 3/4 full.  Ugh, is that progress?

 On one of the blogs, I saw someone's scraps sorted by color and stored in mason jars.  How pretty!  And gosh aren't mason jars popular these days.  I had a dozen quart jars just sitting around so I thought I'd use them.  I didn't really get the colorful and cool decorative look I was going for, and they weren't really big enough.  Is this what quilters do when preparing for the apocalypse?   Preserve their stash in mason jars for the storm cellar?   Who knew I had more green scraps than any other color?  From the left I have 2 greens, 1 half full teal,1 lights (white/off white), 1 purply mixes, 1 yellow, 1 pink, 1 red, 1 blue, 1 orange, 1 tans/browns, and another blue.  And my scrap bag still looks full!  That stinks.  Most of what I left in the bag was in baggies.  Leftover bindings, lots of squares in different sizes, and odd blocks and strip sets. 

But what about these?  This bin is full of 2 and a half inch strips.  Many have had little bits cut off so they aren't full WOF.  They are sort of scraps aren't they?
And these?  I keep my fat quarters on these Ikea CD shelves.  It is a rare FQ that I pull out that doesn't have a piece cut out of it.  Kinda scrappy dontcha think?  I don't even want to look in the closet because I can always find a few plastic tubs with UFO's and a bunch of scraps that go with the UFO.  I always think I'm going to piece a great border so I keep the leftover fabrics together with blocks or a top.  Most of my UFO's are that way because of my 'border neuroses'.  Do you think there's a pill for that?  I need one.
So this Scrappy Stash quilt along is scrappy improv log cabin blocks.  Each block will be a different scrappy color.  I figure I'll just pull down a jar (or 2) and piece a block.  I have a button up on my sidebar if you are tempted to scrap bust along with me.  Jennifer is going to have prizes too!  Yeehaw!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Wild Thread Mystery Row Quilt-along! Who wants in?

I have a great group of quilting friends.  We are a mini group called the Wild Threads.  Mini groups often sprout from a larger quilting guild and are usually 12 or less members with similar interests.  Some are formal and others, like the Wild Threads, are not.  We try to get together once a month and sometimes it is an all day 'marathon' at a local church.  We also go on retreat twice a year and even went on a cruise last fall!!  That was awesome. Sometimes we hit the road and go to a quilt shop or quilt show or both!   We got a little flaky in the past 6 months (we almost became the Loose Threads, lol) but we've tightened up our schedule and made plans for the rest of this year.
I like to gather inspiration and motivation from lots of quilting blogs and websites and I'm using some ideas that I find for the Wild Threads.  Over the summer I linked them to this site for the Great Granny quilt along and most of us completed quilts of various sizes.   I really like Lori Holt's quilts (and btw, how hilarious is that photo in her header?) and she has great quilt-alongs.  Right away she started another quilt along and I decided to use her idea and do one for the Wild Threads.  At our last get together I got my hands on the 'talking stick' (a wooden spoon) and pumped the gals up for a 'Mystery Row Quilt-along'.  I'm not a quilt designer but I often modify things that I see and merge them with other ideas.  I plan to do this and, every month for 6 months, I will give the WT's directions for a block and we will make 6 of them and create a row for a quilt.  I have only made one row quilt and you can see it here.  It was a kit that my mother gave me and I really really enjoyed making it and love it!
Anyway, Lori from Bee in My Bonnet inspired me and here is Row One for the Wild Thread Mystery Row Quilt-along, hereafter to be known as the WTMRQ.
I got out my pencils.  Did you ever use these in school?  I love pulling out a dull point and pushing up a new sharp point. 
 Graph paper is handy and so are colored pencils.  I had lots of blocks that I've been sketching for a while but I am going to keep this simple.  I don't want any drop outs from my first quilt along.
At work I do a lot of the staffing and assignments (a truly thankless job for sure!) and a co-worker gave me a couple of big fat erasers.  How fun is this?!  The one I use at work says 'Shit' and it's gotten a lot of use.
Okay okay, let's get to work. 
Row 1
You will be making 6 blocks.  I chose to use the same background fabric for each block and the focus fabric for each will be different.  I had a heck of a time choosing fabric.  In fact, for over a week I have been making a mess in my sewing room and there are short stacks of fabrics all over the place.  I had a lot of combinations that I liked.   I finally said, 'phooey!' and settled for making two quilts at once. 
For each block, cut the following from the Background fabric
4- three and a half inch squares and
4- one and a half by two and a half inch rectangles
And, cut the following from the Focus fabric:
1- two and a half by six and a half inch rectangle and
2- two and a half inch squares.
The print on the left is my background fabric.  Isn't it cute?  My sister Hannah got it for me.  Are you reading this Hannah?  It's finally done marinating in my stash!
 Ok, fabrics are cut and it's time to fire up the machine.  Sew the little background pieces to one side of the focus squares and to both ends of the the larger rectangle.  Like so:
 Next - take the background squares and sew them to both sides of the small units that you made.  You will now have these two segments as well as the long one from the previous step.
 Line them up like this, sew them together and your block is done.
Wah lah!! Ta dah!  and hip hip hooray!  It's a plus sign!  Not so hard at all.

It really didn't take me long at all to make 2 sets.  These are really the same size but the set on the left looks larger doesn't it?  The set on the rights has one of my all time favorite fabrics as the background.  It's white with red dots and I have vowed to buy yards of it (and of red with white dots) whenever I find them.  The focus fabrics for that set are a variety of prints in red, black, white, and grey. 

Everything from my stash folks!!